The Clean Energy Future announcement by the Greens in mid-September stated that if elected they intend to phase out natural gas usage across the territory in stages by 2020 through to 2030. This new policy appears to have gone largely unnoticed by local residents. One dot point even states that they intend to change the national Building Code of Australia to prevent gas hot water installations in new houses.
The Greens policy states that:
“Gas is expensive, dirty, and unnecessary, and the ACT Greens will stop the rollout of expensive new gas infrastructure in new suburbs. It is irresponsible to connect new homes to the gas network when householders can access cleaner and cheaper energy by using just electricity”.
The ACT Greens will invest $15 million over 4 years to:
- Stop the rollout of expensive new gas infrastructure in all new suburbs.
- Remove all ACT Government incentives that encourage householders to install gas appliances (for example, through the EEIS and wood heater replacement program).
- Set a minimum gas standard of 5 stars for all new gas appliance installations.
- Mandate that replacement hot water systems must not be gas.
- Change the Building Code of Australia requirements to prohibit gas hot water services in new houses.
The ACT Greens will also encourage households to transition away from gas by:
- Providing a 20% rebate on up to $10,000 spent upgrading gas appliances to energy-efficient electric appliances such as split system heating systems and efficient hot water systems (solar or heatpump) for households earning less than $100,000 per annum.
- Replacing gas heating appliances with energy efficient electric heating for those in low-income households.
Read the Green’s No-Gas policy in full.
The policy document makes for some enthralling reading with words like dirty, unnecessary and irresponsible used to describe the natural gas network. And yes, gas is constantly going up in price but we should continue to have the right to choose how we heat our water or cook our meals. Many restaurants and businesses across Canberra use gas for all different reasons.
We live in a Canberra house with gas heating and a gas stove as do thousands of other residents. Last year our gas stove in the kitchen finally died after 20 years and we looked at both gas and electric induction as a replacement. The layout of our house meant the additional cost and effort of running high amperage wiring between the meter box and the kitchen to power the induction stove was so high it was simply beyond consideration. The old cooker was replaced with another gas stove. Even higher wiring costs would be involved for installing a replacement electric hot water system located on the opposite side of the house to the meter. I am reasonably sure not even a Green’s supported rebate would finance the significant changeover costs in our house.
If this No-Gas policy is implemented it will be a massive change to Canberra’s underground infrastructure. Residents and businesses in some suburbs will have a gas connection and newer suburbs will be left without. Going back in future years to provide gas infrastructure to the suburbs built without gas pipelines would also be prohibitively expensive.
What are your thoughts about the Green’s election proposal for substantial alterations to the city’s future energy infrastructure?